feminist of the week: rachele, the nearsighted owl
Name: Rachele, The Nearsighted Owl
Hometown: Portland, Oregon
Describe yourself in one word:
What is your feminist philosophy?
Smash the patriarchy! It is seriously time that a woman’s voice be heard and that a woman’s value isn’t based on how f*ckable she is.
Why is feminism important in today’s world?
Around the world, women are affected the most by rape, violence and war. Women in America are subject to misogyny every time they turn on the TV, go on the internet or read a magazine. We are flooded with messages that our bodies are wrong or shameful.
Our body shape doesn’t determine our worth. Women are capable of anything and without feminism, we wouldn’t have that opportunity.
When did you have your feminist awakening?
I was lucky to be able to attend a class in high school called Women’s Literature, taught by Ms. Childs. She was my favorite teacher to this date; kind of a crunchy hippie type with wild curly hair. She basically introduced me to feminism. My mother spoke of some Women’s Lib thing that my aunt was into in the ’60s, but I couldn’t really relate to it. Ms. Childs told us about genital mutilation, had us read about feminism and explore what it meant to us. She planted a seed that would allow me to be a fat activist and strong woman as an adult.
Do you think that feminism has a branding issue? If so, why and how do you suggest the movement can fix it?
Some people see feminism the way Pat Robertson does: ‘Feminism encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians.’
Which actually sounds awesome, but that really isn’t the purpose of feminism! I think a lot has been done to shed light on issues, like the book “Half The Sky” and how feminism is seen in pop culture; like when Beyonce hired an entire female crew or with the TV show “Orange is The New Black”.
I would love to see females and intersectionality to continue in the mainstream.
What is the most important feminist cause in your life?
The body positive and fat acceptance movement. I am a fat bitch, reclaiming words and spreading the message on positive body image and fat acceptance. I blog about fatshion, feminism, and lessons about loving your fat body, living a fierce life and feeling confident.
What is the most annoying feminist stereotype in your opinion? Why?
That we hate all men and that is the only reason why we are feminists. Also, when we aren’t given our own space or our lack of privilege is questioned.
What are the main challenges women are facing today?
Personally, it is not being discriminated against or treated unfairly as a woman and a fat woman. Being able to get medical attention, fair pay and treatment in the workplace, being treated with respect in public and my choices not questioned based on the fact that I am fat. Not being harassed and name-called. I have a high self-esteem but these things make it really hard to go out into the world. I don’t have the time or energy to deal with shit like this and sometimes it really brings me down. But usually it just pisses me off and makes me a better feminist and fat activist and hopefully I can help others deal with it too.
Why should men take up the feminist cause?
Men should make the space and privilege they have and make it feminist. I don’t think that men should try to take up the same space as feminists that identify as female. They can be a support system and not a barrier to the work that feminists do.
Who is your favourite feminist/what is your favourite feminist organisation and why?
I know so many strong and powerful women that impress me and educate me on a daily basis. These women have blogs, are on Tumblr, write for XOJane and BITCH magazine and are the voices of today’s feminism. I don’t like to see feminism as exclusive to thin white able-bodied privileged women that are popular or well-known. It is about the women of size, people of colour, queer, etc. They are my queens.
What’s your advice to other feminists?
Get out there and kick some ass! The world would like to hear your voice.
Keep up with Rachele on her blog Nearsighted Owl!